Following up on yesterday’s super-loaded A4 I’ve moved forward a decade to the last of the B7 series cars. Between the B5 and B7 generation cars, Audi made significant improvements to their small car, with more upscale and tech-heavy interiors and impressive power output from the new line of motors. While the A4 was introduced with the 172 horsepower 12 valve V6, by the B7 generation the lump had grown to 3.2 liters with the new “FSi” direct injection. While the B5 generation had introduced 5 valve technology as we saw yesterday, the B6/7 went back to 4 valves per a cylinder with variable intake manifolds. The result was impressive; despite the small bump in displacement, the 3.2 FSi motor produced 255 horsepower; more than the B5 S4 came to market with. Audi backed up the performance with its new “sport” designation, the S-Line package. That added the 1BE sport suspension, the sport steering wheel (with paddle shifters for Tiptronic-equipped models), and special aluminum trim. If there was one downside to the S-Line package, it was that you could only get it with black interiors – unlike the vibrant color combination we saw yesterday. To make up for that in some regards, Audi then offered an even more premium exterior option; the Titanium Package. Selecting that option would equip your A4 with 18 inch quattro GmbH Ronal multi-spoke alloys in Titanium and blacked out trim both inside and out. Generally, these S-Line Titanium Avants are considered the most desirable A4 Avants made – and for some, they’re more special than even the S4 Avant:
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If you were a gentleman racer over the best part of the past decade and a half, there was only one natural choice for your steed; the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car was, and still is, the most popular choice for factory supported full race cars to buy brand new. But we can thank the success of the Cup formula for an entirely new lineup of racers, from the Lamborghini Super Trofeo to the track-oriented Laguna Seca Mustangs. In the FIA mandated GT3 field, the advent of the Pro/Am designations have similarly diversified the field from the standard Porsches to new entrants, from the seemingly outrageous Bentley Continental GT3 to the Aston Martin Vantage GT3. But while those names may seem like newcomers on the international circuits, the reality is that both the heritage of Bentley and Aston Martin lay exactly with those gentleman racers. No, the real newcomer to the block is the Audi R8; a name steeped in Le Mans history but a chassis built for the street, the GT3 effort resulted in the popular and sonorous R8 LMS Ultra, as Audi shifted its focus from showcasing quattro all-wheel drive in racing to the lightweight technology incorporated into the new mid-engined racer:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2012 Audi R8 LMS Ultra on Race Cars Direct
I have a bit of a funny relationship with the C6 style Audi A6. On the one hand it is a good looking car that bestowed upon us the option of having a motor with Lambo DNA in a luxury sedan. On the other, it added heft to the most beautiful Audi design of all time, and it didn’t come to our shores in S6 Avant form. For a number of years I have simply found the latter unforgivable, especially since Audi did offer us the C5 S6 Avant. However, Audi crushing my dreams is nothing new, they’ve been doing so with reckless abandon for a number of years now, and frankly their more recent choices have turned me off to the idea of ever getting a new one so long as I’m living in these United States. No manual S4, no manual R8, no hatchback A3/S3?! I understand why these decisions make good business sense, but they’re a blatant FU to the core Audi audience that helped the brand achieve the success that they’re currently enjoying. While I find some of the new cars pretty, and their performance impressive, I can’t help but think that they’ve lost some of the inherent traits that made them special in the past. An RS7 will blow the doors off pretty much anything, and look damn good while doing it, but you’ll need to shell out $120k to have the opportunity to do so. The lower level Audis have just become uninspired, bland, devoid of emotion. That’s why instead of getting a new S4 like every other 30 something that just got a promotion, you should consider picking up an S6 with a 10 cylinders under the hood that only live to please.